Sunday, July 13, 2014

Assorted Links

1. Economists make parking at Carnegie Mellon more efficient.  (Thanks to my former student Paul Tomkiel for sending me this article!)

2. Economic impact follies - convention center edition.  (H/T Jayson Lusk)

3. An old article on teacher compensation - but very good.  

So what does this tell us? I generally dislike any discussion of prices or wages being too high or too low. Individual prices or wages may be wrong for you and what you value, but rates in the market are determined by having people who are willing to both buy and sell at that rate. Unfortuantely, this is not the wage-setting system that prevails for government employees, so we are forced into trying to argue determinations of “fair.”
So here is what I see from the data — it is certainly hard to argue that teachers are grossly underpaid. A good indicator is that government teachers are paid about 8% more than private school teachers, whose compensation packages are more likley to represent a true supply-and-demand rate.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jon Sanders offers good critique of economic impact studies

Link hereto summary in Beaufort Observer

Original Source

Sports economist Donald A. Coffin put it this way:
Those of us who do sports economics and urban economics seriously are almost constantly having to push back against those kinds of studies. The single most disturbing aspect of the IMPLAN model for local economic analysis is the wildly unreasonable values th[ey] have for multiplier effects (compared, for example, with the BEA's Regional Input-Output Modeling System). IMPLAN is exactly what you describe it as, a "model" designed to generate large impact numbers to please a client who wants to lobby someone.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Heading to Las Vegas ...

It's been a while, but I'm finally heading back to Las Vegas.  On Thursday I'll be playing in World Series of Poker event 62 - the $1,111 buy in Little One for One Drop tournament.  If I don't make it to day two on Friday, I have a couple other tournaments I'll play on Friday.  Hopefully that's not a problem, but most players don't make day 2, so I've got my schedule prepared in case I'm one of them.
My brother is also getting married while I'm there, so all-in-all it should be a great trip.

If you're interested, I'll be posting occasional poker updates on my twitter account @MatthewRousu.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What I've been reading

1. Flash Boys

This book is quite good, although I have some concerns and issues.  I also think the moral of the story is one that's been missed by our politicians.  Look for a longer upcoming review on this blog.

2. Cuckoo's Calling

As a big fan of the Harry Potter books, I wanted to give this book a shot.  (Even after reading A Casual Vacancy, which wasn't good.)  This book is OK, but I've stalled.  I find myself wanting to read other books instead.

3. The Economic Naturalist

This book came out several years ago, but I finally obtained a copy after some economists at the teaching conference I attended mentioned it provided useful examples to use when teaching.

They were correct.  The book asks a series of interesting questions and uses logic and economic reasoning to try to discover the answer.  I recommend this book.

4. Think Like a Freak

I thought Freakonomics was wonderful and Superfreakonomics was the worst book I've ever read.  They're online content is reasonably good, though, so despite my displeasure with their last book, I took a chance on this one.  I wasn't disappointed.  It's much more like Freakonomics, where they tackle small problems.  My 12-year old (who reads more than anybody I know - adults or children - liked it as well).

They claim this will improve your thinking.  I'm not certain about that, but it is a quick, fun, and interesting read.

5. The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead

Outstanding advice.  I'm making my children read it!

6. Political Trivia

OK, so it may seem a bit odd that I'm reading my own book.  That said, I'm planning to update it with questions from the past year along with a few new categories.  This review is helping spot where more questions are needed.

In the queue:

* The SU freshman reading compilation on humor.

* A Good Walkthrough Spoiled: The Best of Mike Tanier at Football Outsiders

* Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans

* Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Assorted Links

1. An analysis of what the Hobby Lobby ruling will mean.

This ruling is important.  I don't object at all to using contraceptives.  Honestly, I think those who have these objections based on religious beliefs are wrong.  But I think it is their right to have those beliefs, and it will be dangerous if religious freedoms are trampled here.  As a general rule, the marketplace should decide what's offered, not the government.  This is especially true when dealing with religious beliefs.

2. Australia offers asylum seekers $10,000 to leave.

The Abbott government is offering asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru detention centres up to $10,000 to abandon their hope of resettlement in Australia and voluntarily return to the country they fled from.
The revelation comes as the High Court on Friday issued a stunning rebuke to the Abbott government's border protection policy, striking down its decision to to refuse to issue permanent protection visas to boat arrivals found to be refugees.

This can't end well, right?  I read this and then imagine what would happen if the US offered $10,000 to illegal immigrants to leave. Yikes.

3. Jayson Lusk summarizes new research on the issue of local food vs. environmental quality.

Note: Jayson will be giving a talk at Susquehanna University on Wednesday, October 22nd.  More information coming soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My most viewed video: Game Theory - 3-player games

I made this video solely for my game theory class (25 students), but it's become my most-viewed video.  That's not saying too much at only a few hundred views, but given how few students I have in the class vs. the number of views, I thought I'd share it here as there must be something exciting about this video, right?